There is a silent and secret world war going on. Everyone is affected by it. This is not a war of bombings or of invasion forces decimating countries that we speak of happening. This is the invisible cyber war and everyone is potentially a victim, whether they know it or not. Are you monitoring your Cyber Security?
Recent Cyber Attacks in the News
Even with strong attempts at increased computer security with companies installing computer protection in the form of cyber security programs, the innovation of international cyber criminals is overwhelming.
Cyber Card Fraud Increases in UK Despite Cybersecurity Precautions
Data from Financial Fraud Action UK as reported by This is Money shows that in the UK debit and credit card fraud in online transactions increased almost 50% last year over the previous year of 2013. In 2013, 41 million pounds were stolen in online transactions. In 2014, over 60 million pounds were stolen in this way despite increases in IT security. The online losses from fraud are part of the larger total losses from card fraud in the UK, which amounted to 479 million pounds that were stolen during 2014 from fraudulent card transactions. This figure, in total, is 6% higher than the amount stolen during 2013.
Anunak and Carbanak Malware Attack
Every cyber security definition is concerned with attacks on bank security. For over a year, a gang of criminals from the Russian mafia succeeded in stealing money from European and American banks, before their efforts were detected. The announced amount that this criminal gang was able to steal was about US$1 billion.
Imagine how this compares to a typical bank robber. According to the American FBI, a gunman who robs a bank in person gets away with the average amount of just over $6,000 per robbery. In spite of all the cyber protections in place, this Russian mafia gang clearly made so much money from cyber stealing from banks that it makes stealing with a gun look stupid.
It took a year to realize this stealing was the effort of the organized Russian mafia. The way the culprits were linked to the crimes is almost laughable if this crime was not so serious. Bank machines in Ukraine started spitting out money en masse, for what apparently seemed like no reason. The ATMs started all by themselves putting money out from the machines, which then spilt on the street for anyone passing by to pick up from the sidewalk.
IBM discovered another attack that was reported in CFO magazine. This malware put up a false screen on big companies’ computer systems telling the staff that the corporation’s bank account was compromised. The computer screen that appeared to be the official bank account login screen, told the people trying to log in to their business accounts to call the bank.
The people who called, what they thought was their bank, talked to a real person pretending to be an official bank representation who then asked them for their password and cyber security key code. This request from a “bank official” was supposed to verify who they were and that they had authorization over the account. While this person from a targeted company was on the telephone line, the criminals used this information to transfer by bank wire up to US$1 million from the bank account of each of the victim companies.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is a bit of a misnomer, in that it means generally responses made after the fact. Advanced cyber criminals are able to penetrate even to best-protected systems and cause major havoc from their efforts. These “hacking” efforts are no longer the exclusive realm of some disgruntled teenagers. Instead, the hacking efforts in the cyber security threats are being conducted with the support of major government backing.
Cyber security news is full of recent stories that prove this, for example, the Sony servers were hacked by the North Koreans in response to the release of the derogatory film, “The Interview” that makes fun of the North Korean leader.
The Cyber Security Definition
Adequate cyber security methods now include computer security, cybersecurity, IT security, computer protection, and the use of cyber security programs to support cyber security defence systems. Complete cyber security is difficult and almost impossible to guarantee. The reason for this is the Internet is designed to share information with anyone who is interested. This sharing allows both good people and not so good people access to the same information.
The Conundrum of Information Sharing
If it is accepted that information wants to be free, there is also an explicit acceptance that such information can be abused. This is not an easy thing for human beings to deal with, especially in cyber security areas. Cyber security likes to put restrictions on information flow and not let information be free to be disseminated at will to everyone. Nevertheless, all the systems using the Internet are based on the fundamental idea of information flowing freely.
Most of the companies who suffer severe cyber security losses, even in amounts equivalent to U.S. dollars in the millions, do not report the incidents to the proper authorities. It is not the movement of goods across a border that is so highly suspect; instead, it is the movement of vast amounts of capital in and out of the countries involved that is the source of the major cyber security problems.
Banks and companies are now fighting back with the use of in house data collection methods to create virtual criminal profiles and with sophisticated security devices based on using human fingerprints for online identification.